Starring: Masako Nozawa, Sean Schemmel, Daisuke Gouri, Stephanie Nadolny, Naoko Watanabe, Eric Vale, Miki Itou, Christopher R. Sabat, Ryo Horikawa, Dameon Clarke, Takeshi Kusao, Kyle Hebert, Toshio Furukawa, Sonny Strait, Jeremy Inman, Chuck Huber, Mike McFarland, Tiffany Volmer, Cynthia Cranz,
Running Time: 650 minutes
DRAGON BALL Z SEASON 5 really grabbed my attention in terms of the complicated mythology it had to offer, as well as a wide range of interesting characters. By leaving that Season on a cliffhanger, I eagerly awaited a second bout with the long running anime. At the end of Season 5 the alien/android Cell had reached his final form, and had challenged the world’s fighters to a fighting tournament which would dictate the fate of our planet.
That’s right I’m afraid, this is a tournament based season, which means it’s lacking on plot but high on action, a little too high to be honest. At one point Cell stands on his constructed arena and says how bored he is and wishes he hadn’t given the fighters nine days to prepare. We can only agree with him as the tournament itself doesn’t get started until 4 hours into the season. Usually this would amount to some terrific preparations, montages, some character building, and so forth. Instead we get mostly filler material that works to different degrees of success. At one point the idea of the tournament is pushed aside in order for Goku to retrieve 7 Dragon Balls. This whole plot strand is rushed and amounts to him just teleporting and picking them up.
Once the tournament gets started we are in for a wild ride. Super Seiyan powers are unleashed and brutal blows are met. The action is incredibly fast and usually well paced, but as these battles go on for 5 hours, can the writing really sustain our interest? Yes and no, as certain episodes are indispensible either due to their intensity or frantic scenes of chaos. On the other hand, it’s 5 hours of repetitive beatings and bizarre twists to continue the action. Just when you think someone is beat they pull a new trick out of their ass and the fight continues. There were moments that became just as much a test of endurance for the viewer, as they were for the fighters.
However, at its core, this season is really a father and son tale, as we see the progression of Gohan as he begins to match his father, Goku, in ability. Their relationship is genuinely a fascinating one to watch unfold. Goku isn’t the typical father figure pushing his son too far. He does ask a lot of his son, but encourages him in such a pure and gentle manner that Goku almost seems naive at times. The rest of the supporting characters mostly sit around watching the tournament from the sidelines or on a TV. One new addition to the cast is Hercule Satan, an annoying, obnoxious, and idiotic character that gets far too much screen time. He’s mostly annoying because of how good he could have been. Hercule Satan is a martial arts champion from Earth, in a time before super powered beings and alien invaders. He could have been portrayed as a tragic character having to adapt to a world where he is no longer relevant. Instead he just takes credit for events he had no part in and keeps explaining the super powers he witnesses as trickery. It would have been fine in small doses, but he is commentating on every single fight and often ruins the tension.
DRAGON BALL Z Season 6 has a lot of what you probably love about the show, maybe even too much. It takes a long time to get anywhere and seems as though the writers just wanted to stretch out one fight for as long as possible, with very little else going on between. It does end in a brilliant way, focusing on some bittersweet conclusions and setting up the next season, but if you’re going to invest your time, make sure you’re a fan first.